向英语学习者讲话 | Learning English Conversation by Imitation 用模仿学习英语会话

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Learning English Conversation by Imitation
用模仿学习英语会话

I know some people who once studied in England or America and yet do not speak English correctly; they make mistakes in grammar, idiom, and pronunciation. But the other day I met a Chinese woman who spoke perfect English1. She does not seem to be very well up in English2, but I believe she speaks it more like an English person than I do3. Upon inquiry I was given to know4 that she had never even been to college but had been taught English by English teachers only. She does not speak English as a foreign language. She speaks it in the way she does5, not because she thinks it is the right way but because she knows no other6. She is free from7, and probably ignorant of, the thousand and one8 mistakes peculiar to Chinese students of English.
我认识几个曾经在英国或美国学习过,可是并不能把英语讲得正确的人;他们在语法、习语和发音方面都会犯错误。但不久前的一天我碰到一个讲完美英语的中国妇女。她的英语水平似乎并不很高;但是我相信她讲英语比我更像一个英国人。经我询问,才知道她从未进过高等学校,但只被英国教师教过英语。她讲英语不像讲外语。她这样讲英语并非因为她认为这样讲是对的,而是因为她不知道任何别的讲法。她没有,而且大概也不知道中国的英语学习者所特有的无数错误。

This woman learnt to speak English by imitating unconsciously. It is no doubt9 the best way. But not all Chinese learners have the chance of learning in this way. Well, there is the second best10 way; I mean learning by imitating consciously. If there are people who spent years in England or America but who do not speak English correctly, it is because they did not do much conscious imitating when abroad11. They have carried their mistakes over and then carried them back, though they ought to have left them there.
这个妇女用不自觉的模仿的方法学会了讲英语。这无疑是最好的方法。但是并非所有的学习者都有这样学习的机会。可是也有不得已而求其次的方法;我指的是自觉的模仿。假使有人在英国或美国度过好几年而不能讲正确的英语,这是因为他们在外国时并不曾作过多少自觉的模仿。他们把自己的错误带了过去,再把它们带了回来,虽然他们该把错误留在那里。

I am perhaps in danger of being understood to mean12 that all who go to England or America ought to do so for the sole purpose of learning English conversation. No, I simply mean that by careful imitation one can very well13 learn it—and that14 not only in countries where English is the mother tongue but also in some places in China. Nor do I mean that one’s object in learning English is simply to speak it. But it needs to be generally realized15 among Chinese learners of English that good speaking leads to good writing and that language is essentially something spoken.
我大概会被人误解,被人认为我的意思是一切到英国或美国去的人们应该只是为了学习英语会话这个目的而这样做。不;我的意思只是:通过仔细的模仿,一个人能够容易学到英语,而且不仅在以英语为母语的国家中,在中国的某些地方也一样。我同样认为一个人学习英语的目的并不只是在于讲它。但讲得好能使人写得好,语言主要是一个口头的东西,这点必须在中国的英语学习者中被大家认识到。

NOTES

  1. a Chinese woman who spoke perfect English 一个讲完美英语的中国女子
  2. very well up in English 英语水平很高
  3. do=speak it
  4. was given to know 被告知
  5. does=speaks it
  6. other=other way
  7. free from 没有
  8. thousand and one 无数的
  9. no doubt 无疑
  10. second best 不得已而求其次的
  11. when abroad=when they were abroad
  12. in danger of being understood to mean 有被人以为有……的意思的危险
  13. well 容易
  14. that=one can very well learn it.
  15. needs to be generally realized 必须被大众认识

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